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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Grand Portal Point to Mosquito Beach

Mosquito Beach at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

September 14, 2013

We left Grand Portal Point after taking a few pictures and continued hiking 2.9 miles to Mosquito Beach. The trail was close to the edge of the cliffs, full of foliage, and at times, hard to find. We had to backtrack when the trail split and we took the fork that led us to a lookout. With no where to go, we turned back and took the correct fork, leading us inland. Besides that mishap, we were able to hike quickly through the overgrowth and relished the shade as temperatures rose to the mid 60's F. The trail was more sandy on this part of the trail and as per usual, I kept tripping over the tree stumps that were cleared for the path. After a couple more lookouts, the elevation decreased and brought us from 200 ft to the water level. 

The sand was more prominent along the route and the woods changed from maple trees to hemlocks and pines. We passed Mosquito Campground which was situated a couple feet from the rocky shore and being accessible only by a 2 mile hike from the trail head, privacy was key in its formation. Past the campground was Mosquito Beach. The terrain leading to the beach was no longer tan sandstone boulders but an impressive array of undulating eroded rock, mimicking the ebb and flow of the waves. The layers of eroded sandstone was cut off by a smooth dark shelf-like underwater cliff, rubbed smooth by the waves lapping over it. We lunched on the shoreline and watched the plume of kayakers float on top of the choppy waters before heading to Mosquito Falls.

On North Country Trail, looking back at Grand Portal Point

A lookout on the North Country Trail

Hiking along cliff edge, leading us to a dead end

Back on the correct fork

Sandy trail conditions on the way to Mosquito Beach

North Country Trail to Mosquito Beach from Grand Portal Point

Baby chipmunk on the trail

Looking back at one of the lookouts

Getting closer to the water level still next to the cliff edge

Varying forests along the hike

Varying forests along the hike

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, North Country Trail

Another different section of woods with ferns

Gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor)

Getting closer to the water, going downhill

View to our right along the North Country Trail

Another change in the forest views, getting closer to Mosquito Beach

North Country Trail heading to Mosquito Beach from Grand Portal Point

Mosquito Beach, the eroded shoreline

Kayakers littered the water surface at Picture Rocks

Mosquito Beach at the background to the left at Pictured Rocks

 Views from the North Country Trail

M hiking on the sandstone

On the beach heading back to the North Country Trail at Mosquito Beach

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